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Without a word spoken, a meal is ordered from a cheerful staff
2013-05-27
By Fei Lai

HELPING the disabled to find jobs has been a social service for some years, but only recently have deaf people found employment in restaurants.

Liu Yi Shou Warm Heart Hotpot, located on Xianfeng Road in Hongqiao Town, has 65 employees. Half are deaf.

Liu Song, founder of the restaurant, is a disabled person who lost his left hand. In hiring staff, he doesn't look at disabilities.

"Treating everybody equally is the concept of our restaurant," Liu said. "No matter what the role, employees get treated the same as people without disabilities."

In the case of deaf waiters, restaurant patrons simply point to what they want on a menu board.

"Equal treatment inspires a can-do spirit," Liu said. "Although they cannot speak, these employees want to communicate with others by whatever means necessary."

Zhang Xiaoxiao, a deaf girl from Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, communicates on paper. She carries a small notebook and writes her comments down for customers to read. She always wishes them well when they are finished.

Within a year, she received more than 90 letters from customers complimenting her work.

"I love my job. It fulfills me," Zhang writes in her notebook.

Tian Zhiqiang from Hunan Province is a star waiter at the restaurant. Deaf since the age of 22, he complements his service with a bit of dancing footwork. He also draws sketches of customers for free.

Restaurant patrons are enthusiastic in their praise.

"I've never been to such a restaurant before," said Li Yuan. "When I first went there, it was hard to get used to. But they won me over with their heartwarming service. Soon, I didn't notice any communication problems at all."

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